Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2021 Vol. 14 Issue 76

Belova S.S., Ovsyannikova V.V. Living with atrial fibrillation: qualitative studies on patients’ perception of illness

Full text in Russian: Белова С.С., Овсянникова В.В. Жить с фибрилляцией предсердий: качественные исследования – о восприятии заболевания пациентами 

Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

About author
Suggested citation

The paper presents a review of international studies of the last decade, which apply qualitative methodology in order to reveal illness perception in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). We consistently cover key themes in patients’ illness perception, namely 1) AF screening, 2) the illness dynamics since its onset over the course, 3) changes in health-related quality of life for patients as well as for their family members, 4) insufficient awareness on the illness, 5) anticoagulation therapy. We discuss application perspectives of the review results to medical and psychological support of AF patients in general, and in Russia in particular.

Key words: atrial fibrillation, illness perception, therapy perception, qualitative methodology, quality of life, treatment adherence, anticoagulant therapy

Full text in Russian >>

The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project No 18-00-01661 (K) (18-00-01326).

Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards. The titles are given in author’s translation.

Abdou J.K.B., Patel J.P., Crawshaw J., Vadher B., Brown A. Exploration of adherence and patient experiences with DOACs one year after switching from vitamin-K antagonists-insights from the switchng study Thrombosis Research, 2018, No. 162, 62–68.

Aljohin A.N., Trifonova E.A., Chumakova I.O., Lebedev D.S., Mihajlov E.N. Klinicheskie faktory kachestva zhizni pacientov s fibrilljaciej predserdij, prohodjashhih intervencionnoe lechenie. Bjulleten' Federal'nogo Centra Serdca, Krovi i Jendokrinologii Im. V.A. Almazova, 2011a, No. 4, 15–23. (in Russian)

Aljohin A.N., Chumakova I.O., Trifonova E.A., Lebedev D.S., Mihajlov E.N. Klinicheskie faktory formirovanija otnoshenija k bolezni u pacientov s fibrilljaciej predserdij. Psihologicheskie Issledovanija: Jelektron. Nauch. Zhurn., 2011b, 19(5). (in Russian)

Aljohin A.N., Trifonova E.A., Lebedev D.S., Mihajlov E.N. Psihologicheskie problemy aritmologii (na modeli fibrilljacii predserdij). Vestnik Aritmologii, 2011, No. 63, 45–54. (in Russian)

Altiok M., Yilmaz M., Rencüsoğullari I. Living with Atrial Fibrillation: An Analysis of Patients’ Perspectives. Asian Nursing Research, 2015, 9(4), 305–311.

Bajorek B.V, Ogle S.J., Duguid M.J., Shenfield G.M., Krass I. Balancing risk versus benefit: the elderly patient’s perspective on warfarin therapy. Pharmacy Practice, 2009, 7(2), 113–123. doi: 10.4321/S1886-36552009000200008.

Bamgbade B.A., Sanghai S.R., McManus D.D., Lessard D., Waring M.E., Forrester S., Pierre-Louis I., Saczynski J.S. Psychosocial and cognitive multimorbidity and health-related quality of life and symptom burden in older adults with atrial fibrillation: The systematic assessment of geriatric elements in atrial fibrillation (SAGE-AF) cohort study. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 2020, No. 90, 104117. M., Shea J.B., Michaud G.F., John R., Stevenson W.G.,

Epstein L.M., Tedrow U.B., Albert C., Koplan B.A. Quality of life with atrial fibrillation: Do the spouses suffer as much as the patients? PACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 2011, 34(7), 804–809.

Braun V., Clarke V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2006, 3(2), 77–101.

Brown T.M., Siu K., Walker D., Pladevall-Vila M., Sander S., Mordin M. Development of a Conceptual Model of Adherence to Oral Anticoagulants to Reduce Risk of Stroke in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation. Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, 2012, 18(5), 351–362. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2012.18.5.351.

Cameron L.D., Fleszar-Pavlović S., Khachikian T. Changing Behavior Using the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation. The Handbook of Behavior Change, 2020, 60–76. doi:10.1017/9781108677318.005.

Clarkesmith D.E., Lip G.Y.H., Lane D.A. Patients’ experiences of atrial fibrillation and non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), and their educational needs: A qualitative study. Thrombosis Research, 2017, No. 153, 19–27.

Dalteg T., Sandberg J., Malm D., Sandgren A., Benzein E. The heart is a representation of life: an exploration of illness beliefs in couples living with atrial fibrillation. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2017, 26(21–22), 3699–3709.

Gleason K.T., Nazarian S., Himmelfarb C.R.D. Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms and Sex, Race, and Psychological Distress: a Literature Review. The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2018, 33(2), 137– 143.

Horoshilov D.A., Balashova E.Ju. Kachestvennye metody v social'noj i klinicheskoj psihologii: prolegomeny k mezhdisciplinarnomu dialogu. Social'naja Psihologija i Obshhestvo, 2018, 9(3), 21–30.

Jones J., Stanbury M., Haynes S., Bunting K.V., Lobban T., Camm A.J., Calvert M.J., Kotecha Di. Importance and Assessment of Quality of Life in Symptomatic Permanent Atrial Fibrillation: Patient Focus Groups from the RATE-AF Trial. Cardiology, 2020, 145(10), 666–675.

Kolbin A.S., Mosikjan A.A., Tatarskij B.A. Social'no-jekonomicheskoe bremja fibrilljacii predserdij v Rossii: dinamika za 7 let (2010-2017 gody). Vestnik Aritmologii, 2018, No. 92, 42–48. (in Russian)

Levitt H.M., Bamberg M., Creswell J.W., Frost D.M., Josselson R., Suárez-Orozco C. Journal article reporting standards for qualitative primary, qualitative meta-analytic, and mixed methods research in psychology: The APA publications and communications board task force report. American Psychologist, 2018, 73(1), 26–46.

Lown M., Moran P. Should we screen for atrial fibrillation? The BMJ, 2019, 43(February), 6–8.

Lown M., Wilcox C.R., Hughes S., Santer M., Lewith G., Moore M., Little P. Patients’ views about screening for atrial fibrillation (AF): a qualitative study in primary care. BMJ Open, 2020, 10(3), e033061.

Lowres N., Giskes K., Hespe C., Freedman B. Reducing stroke risk in atrial fibrillation: Adherence to guidelines has improved, but patient persistence with anticoagulant therapy remains suboptimal. Korean Circulation Journal, 2019, 49(10), 883–907.

Mairesse G.H, Moran P., Van Gelder I.C., et al. Screening for atrial fibrillation: a European heart rhythm association (EHRA) consensus document endorsed by the heart rhythm Society (HRS), Asia Pacific heart rhythm Society (APHRS), and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estimulación Cardíaca Y Electrofisiología (SOLAECE). Europace, 2017, No. 19, 1589–1623.

Mccabe P.J., Barnason S.A. Illness Perceptions, Coping Strategies, and Symptoms Contribute to Psychological Distress in Patients with Recurrent Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2012, 27(5), 431–444.

McCabe P.J., Kumbamu A., Stuart-mullen L., Hathaway J., Lloyd M. Exploring Patients’ Values and Preferences for Initial Atrial Fibrillation Education. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2020, 35(5), 445–455.

McCabe P.J., Schumacher K., Barnason S.A. Living with Atrial Fibrillation: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2011, 26(4), 336–344.

McCabe P.J., Rhudy L.M., Devon H.A. Patients’ experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2014, 1(507), 786–796.

Orbell S., Zahid H., Henderson C.J. Changing Behavior Using the Health Belief Model and Protection Motivation Theory. The Handbook of Behavior Change, 2020, 46–59. doi:10.1017/9781108677318.004.

Piccini J.P., Allred J., Bunch T.J., Deering T.F., Biase L.Di, Hussein A.A., Lewis W.R., Mittal S., Natale A., Osorio J., Packer D.L., Ruff C., Russo A.M., Sanders P., Seiler A., Slotwiner D., Hills M.T., Turakhia M.P., Van Gelder I.C., Varosy P.D., Verma A., Volgman A.S., Wood K.A., Deneke T. Vicechair F. Rationale, considerations, and goals for atrial fibrillation centers of excellence: A Heart Rhythm Society perspective. Heart Rhythm, 2020, 17(10), 1804–1832.

Raja J.M., Elsakr C., Roman S., Cave B., Pour-ghaz I., Nanda A., Maturana M., Khouzam R.N. Apple Watch, Wearables, and Heart Rhythm: where do we stand? Annals of Translational Medicine, 2019, 7(17), 417.

Rho R.W., Page R.L. Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 2005, 48(2), 79–87.

Rienstra M., Lubitz S.A., Mahida S., Magnani J.W., Fontes J.D., Sinner M.F., Van Gelder I.C., Ellinor P.T., Benjamin E.J. Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine Symptoms and Functional Status of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: State of the Art and Future Research Opportunities. Circulation, 2012, No. 125, 2933–2943.

Ruddox V., Sandven I., Munkhaugen J., Skattebu J., Edvardsen T., Otterstad J.E. Atrial fibrillation and the risk for myocardial infarction, all-cause mortality and heart failure: A systematic review and metaanalysis. European Journal of Preventive Cardilology, 2017, 24(14), 1555–1566.

Salmasi S., Loewen P.S., Tandun R., Andrade J.G., De Vera M.A. Adherence to oral anticoagulants among patients with atrial fibrillation: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ Open, 2020, 10(4), 1–14.

Serpytis R., Navickaite A., Serpytiene E., Barysiene J., Marinskis G., Jatuzis D., Petrulioniene Z., Laucevicius A., Serpytis P. Impact of atrial fibrillation on cognitive function, psychological distress, quality of life and impulsiveness. The American Journal of Medicine, 2018, 131(6).

Shaw R.L., Bishop F.L., Horwood J., Chilcot J., Arden M.A. Enhancing the quality and transparency of qualitative research methods in health psychology. British Journal of Health Psychology, 2019, 24(4), 739–745. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12393.

Skirdenko Ju.P., Zherebilov V.V., Shustov A.V., Nikolaev N.A. Fibrilljacija predserdij: problemy i perspektivy medicinskogo soprovozhdenija, lechenija i profilaktiki na sovremennom jetape. Nauchnoe Obozrenie. Medicinskie Nauki, 2016, No. 3, 115–122. (in Russian)

Skirdenko Ju.P., Nikolaev N.A. Vklad priverzhennosti terapii antikoaguljantami v risk oslozhnenij fibrilljacii predserdij. Rossijskij Kardiologicheskij Zhurnal, 2019, 24(2), 64–69. (in Russian)

Son Y., Baek K., Lee S.J., Seo E.J. Health-Related Quality of Life and Associated Factors in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: An Integrative Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019, No. 16, 3042.

Stridsman M., Strömberg A., Hendriks J., Walfridsson U. Patients’ Experiences of Living with Atrial Fibrillation: A Mixed Methods Study. Cardiology Research and Practice, 2019.

Sрalmasi S., Kwan L., Macgillivray J., Vera M.De, Barry A.R., Harrison M.J., Lynd L.D., Loewen P., Vera M.De, Barry A.R., Harrison M.J., Andrade J., Larry D. Assessment of atrial fibrillation patients’ education needs from patient and clinician perspectives: A qualitative descriptive study. Thrombosis Research, 2019, No. 173, 109–0116.

Taylor E.C., Neill M.O., Hughes L.D., Carroll S., Moss-morris R. ‘It’ s like a frog leaping about in your chest’: Illness and treatment perceptions in persistent atrial fibrillation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 2018, No. 23, 3–21.

Vaanholt M.C.W., Weernink M.G.M., von Birgelen C., Groothuis-Oudshoorn C.G.M., IJzerman M.J., van Til J.A. Perceived advantages and disadvantages of oral anticoagulants, and the trade-offs patients make in choosing anticoagulant therapy and adhering to their drug regimen. Patient Education and Counseling, 2018, 101(11), 1982–1989. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.06.019.

Zoni-berisso M., Domenicucci S. Epidemiology of atrial fibrillation: European perspective. Clinical Epidemiology, 2014, No. 6, 213–220.

Received 13 January 2021. Date of publication: 30 April 2021.

About author

Belova Sofya S. PhD in Psychology, Research Associate, Laboratory of Psychology and Psychophysiology of Creative Activity, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13/1, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Ovsyannikova Victoria V. PhD in Psychology, Senior Research Associate, Laboratory for Cognitive Research, National Research University "Higher School of Economics", ul. Myasnitskaya, 20, 101000 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Suggested citation

Belova S.S., Ovsyannikova V.V. Living with atrial fibrillation: qualitative studies on patients’ perception of illness. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2021, Vol. 14, No. 76, p. 1. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

Permanent URL:

Back to top >>